Books that would be best purchased in a print version?
January 4, 2011 8:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for books that would be best purchased in a print version, not borrowed from the library or bought on a Kindle.

tl;dr Given that I own a Kindle and go to the library, what should I get with Barnes and Noble gift cards?

I received a number of Barnes and Noble gift cards for the holidays; about $100 worth. I also got a Kindle, which I plan to use to read books I want to keep, and which are cheaper as ebooks than print books. In addition, I've been trying to be better about borrowing books rather than buying them, if the reread possibility is low. So, with that in mind, what should I get with the gift cards to B&N?

I've considered buying books and donating them to some worthy cause, and may still, but would still like ideas for me.

My immediate thoughts were of cookbooks, knitting books, and graphic design books. But... I don't really cook (I'd like to, and learn more about cooking, but life is in the way right now), my knitting has lapsed (and was mostly scarves and hats anyway) and I haven't been a graphics person professionally for a long time and still have plenty of those books.

I read fantasy, business books, literary non-fiction, travel and food writing, and some self help. I get my lattes from an actual Starbucks and my music on iTunes. I don't buy DVDs or coffee table books. I'd be leery of trading it on gift card swap sites. Thought while writing this question - audio books might be a good use - suggestions?

I'm open to any number of ideas, and welcome suggestions in areas other than those I've mentioned, and ideas whose categories I may have rejected if you have a really good idea.
posted by booksherpa to Shopping (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You didn't mention graphic novels, and I'm pretty new to the genre, but I've been really intrigued by Lauren Redniss' two books, Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A tale of Love and Fallout and Century Girl. I believe that Redniss has a background in graphic design and has contributed to the NYT OP-ED pages.

Both books have gotten rave reviews and seem like they are interesting as biographies, regardless of the format. It appears that she's done extensive research for both books. They also seem like beautiful objects (if you like her design sensibilities) that you could return to again and again, perhaps for inspiration. They are not available as e-books. I haven't gotten either yet, but they are both on my Amazon wishlist.
posted by kaybdc at 8:40 PM on January 4, 2011

Cherie Priest's Boneshaker was printed in brown ink. I was dismayed to find that out after reading it on a Kindle--the rest of my bookclub thought it lent a nice steampunk touch.

On a mobile or I'd link, sorry.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 8:44 PM on January 4, 2011

Response by poster: Graphic novels work as a category as well, and it's an idea I didn't think of. Newer ones with fantasy elements and a sense of humor would be lovely suggestions. Adult themes not an issue.
posted by booksherpa at 8:49 PM on January 4, 2011

You can also purchase calendars, planners, journals/notebooks, CDs, reference manuals (home improvement, vehicle maintenance, crafts), art books, stationery, small gadgets, self-help workbooks, atlas/maps/travel guides, desk toys, some board games, etc.

Also I believe you can use them for printed magazine subscriptions.
posted by KogeLiz at 8:54 PM on January 4, 2011

I have this one checked out from the library right now, but am looking forward to owning a copy soon:
How to Make Books by Esther K. Smith
posted by carsonb at 9:07 PM on January 4, 2011

Graphic novels work as a category as well, and it's an idea I didn't think of. Newer ones with fantasy elements and a sense of humor would be lovely suggestions. Adult themes not an issue.

posted by jng at 9:16 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Reference books like dictionaries, encyclopedias, and atlases are good to have around. I know all that info is available online, but it's sometimes nice to be able to grab a book off the shelf to settle a dispute when you're sitting around in the lounge with friends, or to take a volume of an encyclopedia to the toilet with you. Um, as a totally hypothetical example.

Crossword and other puzzle books?

I dont' know about B&N, but some bookshops sell audiobooks, CDs, and various other non-book items.

Finally, I don't know if this is appropriate here - mods please delete if not - but I know a tiny school on a small isolated island in the Pacific that has a total of one bookshelf full of books. Those books are all that the kids on the island have to read, as the families don't tend to have books themselves at home, and it's not like they can just go to a bookstore or library (the island is so small it has no shops). (I spent a couple of months doing fieldwork there last week, and now I send books to the school whenever I can, but they are still DESPERATE.) Memail me if you want more details or an address.
posted by lollusc at 9:32 PM on January 4, 2011

* last YEAR, not week!
posted by lollusc at 9:33 PM on January 4, 2011

If magical realism fits in your fantasy genre, then you can take advantage of the Kindle's criminal neglect of Latin American literature. Amazon has nothing by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude), Jorge Amado (Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands), or Julio Cortazar (Hopscotch) for the Kindle.
posted by spasm at 10:38 PM on January 4, 2011

Knitting books are a good idea - I'd say anything knitting-reference related. (The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns by Ann Budd and Nancy Bush, for instance, or some sock books - you can never have too many!)

The first thing that jumped into my mind was the complete illuminated works of William Blake, but it may be a bit too coffee-table-book-y for your tastes, especially if you don't generally read poetry.

Any of the Dover editions of Gustave Dore's illustrations are pretty sensational.

Also, Barnes & Noble has substantially increased their board game offerings over the last year or so. Do you play board games? Or might you start?
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 8:03 AM on January 5, 2011

Reference books. It's easier to flip through a print book than an e-book, so any book not read front-to-back and used to look up specific things is easier to use in print format.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 6:47 PM on January 5, 2011

Reference books. It's easier to flip through a print book than an e-book, so any book not read front-to-back and used to look up specific things is easier to use in print format.

On the other hand, ebooks are searchable, which is a significant advantage for reference books.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 2:32 PM on January 6, 2011

You mentioned cookbooks, but that you don't really have time to cook right now. I'd suggest looking at cookbooks that are more about cooking theory than recipes. Especially ones with lots of photos that wouldn't translate well to the kindle screen. I'm not as well versed in these as I'd like, but think Alton Brown's stuff.
posted by Morydd at 5:35 AM on January 7, 2011

Response by poster: Here's what I ended up with:
  • Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything and How To Cook Everything Vegetarian - B&N had them as a special 2 volume set for 50% off. I figured I wanted to cook more in the future, Mefites have recommended his cookbooks, and it was too good a deal to pass up
  • the latest Rose is Rose book (okay, not *quite* a graphic novel, but I'm a fan)
  • Photo Idea Index, quite the visual book - photo inspiration
  • Life Is A Verb, a creativity and self-help book - not picture heavy, but layout dependent
  • A couple of organization/decluttering books with checklists and spots for notes
A good haul, and stuff I'm glad to have in print. Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.
posted by booksherpa at 7:33 PM on February 4, 2011

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